By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Liberal Area Rape Crisis/Domestic Violence Services serves nearly 800 people a year who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Even with the work the center does, however, funds keep getting cut and diverted.
To help combat this trend, LARC/DVS is hosting its fifth annual benefit fundraiser to help raise money for the center’s programs, which will go towards helping victims and survivors and the operation of the office as well as the shelter LARC/DVS operates.
“It’s more important each and every year that we raise more of our own money, and this is our one major event we do to raise money locally,” Lori Hensley, executive director at LARC/DVS, said. “We provide services to approximately 800 individuals each year and with all the different services we provide, we have an almost $500,000 budget that we’re working with and that’s a lot of money to create each year.”
The fundraiser will be on Saturday at the Fellowship Baptist Church. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served between 5:30 and 6. The silent auction portion of the evening will start at 5 p.m. with the live auction starting after that.
Dinner will feature roast beef along with sides and a dessert and live music from a local jazz band will be providing background music. While there is no cost to get into the event, free will donations are encouraged.
Several items were donated by local businesses to LARC/DVS for the fundraiser, including a 32-inch TV, a recliner and a subscription to Sirius XM radio. Many incidental items were also donated and will be part of the silent auction portion of the evening.
Hensley talked about the difference between this year’s fundraiser and the previous fundraisers. She added between 150 and 200 people are expected to be in attendance for the event, and she would like to see upwards of $10,000 raised during the event.
“I think we’ve stepped it up a notch,” Hensley said. “It’s a nicer dinner this year than we’ve had in the past, we also have a lot more live auction items. In the past, we’ve had just a handful of live auction items, and this year, we have much more live auction items, which we’re really excited about.”
LARC/DVS has been working since right after the beginning of this year to get donations secured, invitations mailed and everything else arranged.
“I cannot go without saying thank you to Rhonda Howard who has chaired our fundraiser this year because she’s done a wonderful job of putting things together and making sure everything’s working and people have been contacted,” Hensley emphasized. “She got out the early letters telling people we would have the fundraiser coming up and we would be requesting items and we’ve been able to go and solicit those items, the board has been able to do the soliciting of those items and they knew ahead of time that people would be coming and requesting items.”
Hensley also shared some encouragement for people to attend the evening’s festivities.
“It’s just going to be a great evening, I think,” she said. “Right now it’s hot outside, you know, we’ll be in the cool atmosphere and enjoy it and have a nice dinner and they stay around for the silent portion of our auction and then the live portion. Just come for a nice evening, bring a friend and come on over. I think it will be a great time.”